Friends With Similar Disabilities

I stumbled across this news article the other day.

http://www.wbtv.com/story/38883711/hearing-aids-lead-to-unique-friendship-at-madison-county-elementary-school

To sum it up, a forth grader with a hearing disability saw a kindergartner wearing hearing aids, so he went up the kindergartner and introduced himself.  The kindergartner was thrilled to meet another child with hearing aids.

The two boys have become friends, due to their shared experience.  They are able to work together to teach other kids about their disability and how hearing aids work.

They can also help each other navigate through obstacles and pitfalls that occur when you have a hearing disability in childhood.

This article touched my heart, because I too have a hearing disability that started in early childhood.  I wasn’t lucky enough to meet another hearing disabled child, so I often struggled alone.

Even as an adult, if I run into a young person with a hearing aid I feel an immediate connection.  I want to talk to them about their experiences, how they handle certain situations, and how having a hearing disability has impacted their life.

Growing up with a hearing impairment is a unique experience and not something most people can understand.  I am glad these boys found each other.

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Texting vs Talking on the Phone

I have a hearing disability, so talking on the phone is a struggle.  I have to concentrate on every word the other person is saying, but I still end up missing a good bit of the conversation.  It’s extremely frustrating for me to have a phone conversation.

However, texting is a breeze.  The words are right there for me to read and with the use of emojis the context and emotions behind those words is understandable.

Which do you prefer, texting or talking on the phone?

BAHA Update

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I’ve worn the BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) implant for a couple of months now, so I thought I would write an updated review.

On the plus side, I am hearing a lot better with the implant.  The other day, I was listening to crickets.  I thought it was so funny that they sound like birds.  I also find it easier to communicate with people.  A few times, I even understood what someone behind me said.  That was cool.

On the negative side, the outer processor is very delicate.  I can’t wear it when I am engaging in any physical activity.  I also can’t wear a hat with the outer processor.  That has been frustrating for me, since it limits my ability to use the BAHA implant.

I would still recommend the BAHA implant to anyone that needs it.  It is a great device and I enjoy having it.

Hearing Aids – Cost, Customer Service, or Quality

I was born with inner-ear deformities that resulted in hearing loss and I have worn hearing aids since I was 12 years old.

Here is a copy of my latest hearing test.

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Hearing aids are really expensive.  I am talking about thousands of dollars, per aid.  Most people wear hearing aids in both ears, so that could easily cost over five thousand dollars.

When buying hearing aids, there are several things to take into consideration.

  • Cost – I understand it can be difficult spending five to ten thousand dollars every couple of years for a pair of hearing aids.  In America, most insurance companies will not cover hearing aids.  Cost then becomes a critical factor.
  • Customer Service – Hearing aids have to be maintained in order to function properly and prolong the life of the aids.  They should be professionally cleaned every three months.  Also, hearing aids are small and tend to be a bit delicate.  They will need to be repaired occasionally.  It is vital to purchase your hearing aids from a place that will provide the required cleaning and repairs.
  • Quality – Hearing aid brands are not all the same.  When looking at quality, you should consider the sound quality and the structural quality of the hearing aids.

I have worn hearing aids for over thirty years and I have no idea how many audiologist and hearing aid dealers I have seen during that time.  I also have no idea how many hearing aids I have worn over the years.  I have tried numerous brands and types of hearing aids and my favorite has been Beltone.

Beltone is not the cheapest brand I have ever purchased, but the quality has always been good.  I must admit, I am not nice to my hearing aids.  They end up being submerged in water, covered in dirt or mud, dropped from various heights, chewed on by dogs, and even smashed a few times.  However, they usually keep working.  When they do eventually die, I can usually get them fixed within a few days.

The customer service at Beltone has to be what keeps me coming back to purchase hearing aids.  Zach always greets me by name, asks questions about the family or dogs, and even teases me for the crazy things that happen to my hearing aids.  It’s a fun place to get the hearing aids cleaned and purchase new ones when needed.

When it comes to purchasing hearing aids, I think quality and customer service are the most important things to take into consideration.  What are your thoughts on the subject? Have you ever needed to research the cost of hearing aids or purchase a hearing aid?

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Extraordinary Day at CVS

I was in CVS and a women tapped me on my shoulder.  She pointed to my hearing aids and asked if I was deaf (using sign language and her voice).  I responded back (speaking and signing), “No.  I am not deaf; I am hard of hearing.”

The lady told me about her granddaughter.  The child was born with a hearing impairment and the women was afraid of how it would affect the child’s life.  She asked me about my hearing problems.  If I was able to go to college and if I was able to work.

I told her I was born with an inner ear deformity that caused me to lose my hearing at a very young age.  I had a series of operations to help fix the deformity and to prevent anymore loss of hearing.

I told her I did go to college, I have a Master’s degree, and a good job.  Basically, I did well even though I am hearing impaired.

I gave her information on local resources that could help by teaching the family sign language, provide assistive hearing devices, finding professional speech therapist, and anything else they may need.

The women thanked me and was in tears when she left the store.  I believe she felt hopeful for her grandchild.

I believe that little girl is achieving her full potential today.